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FIA-13-0075 - In the Matter of Daniel W. McKeel, Jr.

On December 23, 2013, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal filed by Daniel W. McKeel, Jr., (Appellant) of a determination issued by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  In his request, the Appellant asked for a copy of “any and all documents related to shipments by truck or rail, in the 1951-2000 time fram, of magnesium-thorium alloy metal plates, . . ., from Dow Madison, Illinois, Atomic Weapons Employer . . . [energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA)] site to the Rocky Flats (DOE) EEOICPA site in Golden, Colorado.”  NNSA found no responsive documents in the documents stored in 900 boxes transferred from Rocky Flats to NNSA.  NNSA stated that it searched the 127-page index, using multiple keywords, including magnesium-thorium, strikes, semi-truck, rail cars, rail, transport MOD Center, Building 440, and shipment.  It also searched the classified database.  The search was performed by six different individual with specialized knowledge of the Rocky Flats records.  Given the scope of NNSA’s search for responsive information, OHA found that its search was adequate.  The standard for an agency search is that it be reasonable, not exhaustive.  Therefore, OHA denied the Appeal.